Saturday, 23rd February saw us take flight once again. We were flying Qantas to Auckland. This would be our 8th stop of the 15 permitted on our RTW ticket, so a halfway point in a sense.
There was a little excitement in the air as we arrived in New Zealand because, as luck would have it, our initial brief stay in Auckland coincided with a decent size poker tournament with a NZD 500 buy in, which is around GBP 250. This was a single day tournament so it fitted perfectly with our schedule. We were planning only two nights in Auckland before flying south to Christchurch as part of our extensive tour of New Zealand.
The SkyCity Casino was hosting the tournament so, for convenience, we stayed at the SkyCity Grand Hotel. We arrived in the early evening so didn’t get much chance to explore the city. The one sight we did see, since it was slap bang between the hotel and casino, was the Sky Tower.
This is yet another tower built on exactly the same lines as the Stratosphere in Vegas and the Macau tower which we photographed back in January. We made it our mission to find out who was first.
The Macau Tower was completed in 2001 and is 338m high. Auckland’s Sky Tower was completed in 1997 and is 328m high. The Stratosphere Tower was completed first, in 1996 and is the tallest, at 350.2m. I’m sure that will settle lots of arguments around family dinner tables.
We called it a night at this point – there’s only so much excitement we can handle – and rested ourselves in preparation for Sunday’s tournament.
We had breakfast in a place just next door to our hotel – and across the road from the casino’s front door – called the Federal Deli, which was delicious. We registered promptly for the 12:30pm start and, like so many tournaments, it started a half hour late. Also in common with many tournaments, I busted out early and it was left to Ishbel to fly the flag for Scotland. There were 70 entries in the end and a five figure sum was on offer for the eventual winner. They were paying only 8 places in the tournament, so Ishbel was disappointed to eventually bust out of the tournament in 11th place.
After she finished, we had a late dinner and since we’d enjoyed breakfast there so much, we went back to the Federal Deli again.
So almost all of our Auckland activity took place in one small street in the centre of town. And that’s why this post is mostly unillustrated.
The following morning we re-packed our gear and stowed a suitcase and both instruments at a storage facility called The Luggage Hotel. We would be moving around a lot for the next week or so and decided to travel light. Then it was off to the airport for a budget one-way flight to Christchurch. Ishbel’s camera should be back in action for the rest of the trip.